Swim England

A nation swimming

‘Vibrant and impressive’ Disney-Inspired Family Fun sessions win top award

Swim England has scooped a top prize at the Sports Business Awards for its ‘vibrant and impressive’ Disney-Inspired Family Fun Sessions.

More than 50,000 youngsters and their families have taken part in the 45-minute sessions, which featured some of Disney’s much-loved characters and stories such as Mickey Mouse and Friends, Toy Story 4 and Frozen 2.

The sessions were launched in June 2019 as part of a collaboration between Swim England and Disney UK’s Healthy Living Commitment.

They were designed to use the power of Disney’s characters and storytelling to inspire families to lead healthier lifestyles.

The sessions proved to be extremely popular with three to 11-year-olds, who took part in exciting games with a Disney theme based on core aquatic skills and delivered by trained activators.

Sports commentator Hazel Irvine, the presenter of the virtual Sports Business Awards, announced Swim England as the winner of the Best Sports Governing Body Initiative.

She said: “Swim England and Disney launched this vibrant partnership in a bid to inspire families to keep healthy and active through swimming as a year-round activity.

“Swimming is quite obviously a hugely important life skill and the sessions use Disney storytelling and activities themed around their much-loved characters to tap into youngsters’ imaginations.

“The judges viewed this as an extremely impressive initiative with very good partnership work and very strong results and said won’t it be great when we can get our kids back to the pool regularly again soon.”

Kate Rudkin, Swim England head of communications and partnership activation, said: “I’m delighted to accept this award on behalf of Swim England, particularly as we were up against some of the other incredibly impressive organisations and initiatives and at the end of such a difficult year.

Such a success

“We’ve been proud to partner with a committed partner such as Disney to use the magic of Mickey, and other famous Disney faces, to reach out to a new generation of swimmers and build that love of the water that we hope will stay with people for a lifetime.

“The feedback we have received from the partner pools that run the sessions, and directly from families, has shown us how much these sessions are enjoyed by thousands of families each week.

“I think the partnership has been such a success because of the genuine alignment of values of our organisations and a shared belief in the importance of facilitating that quality family time together, being physically active in a fun and engaging way.

“It would be remiss of me not to thank the fantastic team that have worked on this project at Swim England and our partners at Disney, who have worked so hard on bringing these sessions to life and making them such a success.

“Initiatives like this will be more important than ever as we seek to encourage more families back to the pool in 2021 following all the Covid disruptions this year.

“Thank you again to the panel for this recognition, congratulations to the other winners and nominees and here’s to hoping 2021 is a better year for all sports businesses.”